Posted by Webby on
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria - Villagers complained Thursday that an oil spill in southeast Nigeria was spreading through creek beds and leaving their cassava plants and fishing nets encrusted with crude oil.
A 20-inch (50 centimeter) pipeline operated by Royal Dutch Shell's Nigerian subsidiary running through a dense mangrove forest ruptured Wednesday near the Rumuekpe community in Rivers state about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the oil center of Port Harcourt, a Shell spokesman said.
A team of Shell workers were working Thursday to contain the spill, which had spread over an area of about 40 square meters (130 square feet), the spokesman said.
The cause of the spill and the amount of crude oil lost was not immediately known, the spokesman said. He said the pipeline had been shut down for four months, but did not elaborate.
Villagers said the spill was still spreading Thursday and that the creeks were carrying the oil into other nearby communities.
"Our fishing materials have been destroyed by the spill and economic activities have been paralyzed," Rumuekpe resident Godpower Ogbom said.
The Niger Delta is one of the West African country's poorest regions, although it is the source of the country's dlrs 20 billion in annual oil exports. Nigeria is the world's sixth-largest exporter of oil and fifth-largest supplier to the United
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